mushrooms thinking big weekly report

Signs of Spring

Scarlet cup fungus (Sarcoscypha austriaca).

Above, Scarlet Cup fungus: “One of the earliest of spring fungi, it often escapes attention because it is hidden under fallen leaves.” (George Barron)

Some years we see great flocks of robins here through the winter, so robins are not the harbingers of spring for me that they once were. At least not until they begin their spring construction season, installing nests all over our eaves.

But we glimpse other sparks, hinting that spring is about to ignite…

The cold nights and warmer days pulsing sap up and down the maples.

The first turkey vulture, the first moss upended by turkeys, the first bluebird. Trills of red-winged blackbirds, chickadees inspecting our bird houses.

A skinny chipmunk hightailing it across the gravel drive.

The brilliant red of scarlet cup fungus, half hidden in the duff.

The vernal pools swelling in the woods, seasonal streams percolating over little rock piles. Suddenly soggy places that in a few more months will be bone dry. The return of mud. The smell of thaw. The first walk up the hill without ice cleats. An extra egg in the chickens’ nest box.

The first ticks. Questing on the low branches we have not yet cleared from the trail.

The sun shining a little further into the kitchen, brighter and warmer. The inevitable surprise snow and the suddenly warm days that follow it.

Happy early inching muddy days spring folks.

Have a wonderful week,